Waking up in the morning felt like pulling teeth. I was in an industry I didn’t love, and life started to feel purposeless every day.
It all started when I was jobless. I had been unemployed for about 4 months and I couldn’t stand it, I wanted to pull my hair out.
Finally, a friend mentioned that they were looking for an office assistant at a financial services company. Having come from a very creative space, I was nervous.
But honestly, I was happy to not be a loser who contributes nothing to society. In my mind, I figured I would just take it in my stride and see how it goes. I mean, it’s not like I was going to be there forever. I kept telling myself it was temporary.
3 years later, I had been promoted twice and had essentially taken on more of a leadership role in my team. I watched people come and go and wondered when it was going to be my turn. The culture was horrible and rigid.
We all tried to make changes but hey, what are you in one of the biggest companies in the continent? Two things that job taught me was to
KEEP GOING and if you don’t know something…
In all honesty, I was a bit ashamed to be a glorified filing clerk and, in my mind, I was like ‘you know what? You’re smart enough to do all this finance stuff these people are doing’ and I was right.
I killed it at my job, but it drained me bit by bit. Knowing that writing is my sole passion and I couldn’t do it fulltime really hurt and it demotivated me. Freelancing was just not enough, but hey, the bills must be paid right?
Fast forward to the present, and I am in the job of my dreams. I felt like I could finally call myself a writer. The first couple of months were very daunting because the environment was completely different; vibrant, colorful and everyone wears whatever they want!
I felt like I didn’t know anything all over again, but I remembered what I kept in my mind at my old job. KEEP GOING AND LEARN.
Ask questions no matter how stupid they sound
Do some reading on your industry
Listen to what the others are saying.
It truly goes a long way because now, I’m right at home. I feel like everyone trusts me to make the right decisions and deliver on top class work, which is amazing.
My old job helped me grow, and now I’m glowing in my new job.
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On-boarding is a process of integrating a new employee into the organization. We all mistake Induction for On-boarding, while the former ends in one day. Onboarding usually lasts for about six months till a year depending on the company.
1. A good Induction is the first step to retaining your employee.
Induction shouldn’t be just a storytelling session about the company rather it should integrate the staff to the company’s vision which will enable them to run with it.
You would save yourself a lot of headache in micromanaging your employees if you can ensure they are well aligned with the vision. Induction shouldn’t be one-off, there should be a frequent induction program which should cascade to each department and roles.
2. It helps employees think like a business owner
Empowering an employee through an effective onboarding process to think and act like the CEO would go a long way in retention and business growth.
The mindset of a CEO is much more than completing tasks or meeting up with deadlines; it’s about the growth of the business.
Each employee should be able to align their functions with the growth and success of the company.
3. It protects and improves your company culture
A good company culture improves employee productivity which in turns drives business growth. An underlying factor for an organization’s culture lies in its Values and purpose.
I’m talking about the REAL core value that forms the basis of major decisions and strategy. A proper communication during the onboarding process will prevent future cluelessness by an employee in the future.
4. Having a documented process to drive uniformity makes it more effective.
It’s not enough to assume to think that line managers are helping the employees integrate better. Documenting the process starting from the induction and ensuring line managers are held accountable for following the process makes it effective.
I have realized that the competency of the person managing the process goes a long way so Training is advised.
With this points of mine, I hope I’ve been able to convince you why you need to revisit your onboarding process or create one if you never one before now.
Gender discrimination has been a major issue in Africa, and the world at large. Although, it’s reduced in the past years since we live in the 21st century and in the most real modernity. Unfortunately, it’s still an issue women battle.
This happens in most industries, and especially in male-dominated fields like construction industries, politics, entertainment and so on. Most times, I wonder why or where the male superiority emerged from and I still don’t get it.
Why?. Because I’ve heard of women’s success stories that men can’t even dream of attaining by going through the phases women do.
As we live in an evolving world and in a modern time, gender equality should be essential in every society and economy. Although the past discrimination women faced has been changing, there are still a variety of challenges that women face, low-key and high key.
Women that jump into positions predominantly held by men don’t have it easy. They seek support from colleagues, friends, and families and so on as they face challenges like mistreatment, incompetency, unheard voices, or bad comparison.
African women have so little influence over resources which restricts befitting jobs and limits their earnings, hence the dependency status. That makes the voices of women remain limited and unfortunately, African attitudes, vibes, and customs extends many of these inequalities across many generations present and ones to come.
Let’s take a look at the agricultural sector which requires a strong manpower, so technically, we can tag it a male-dominated field. Research shows us that women contribute 60% plus, of labor into food production for household consumption and for sale.
Yet they get no credit for their hard work. They are not recognized, visible, complimented, or rewarded for all the energy and passion they put into the work they do. In politics also, it was regarded as a man’s job to make decisions or make a difference.
But from the 1990s, women started gaining freedom, the freedom to do whatever. The freedom to have a voice and stand up for what they want.
Now, women have gained over 30% of the seats in the government and are making a difference and history. How sweet!
In dealing with gender discrimination in male-dominated fields, what options do women have? Do they become a man overnight or take advantage of their natural qualities like nurturing and oozing empathy?
I think not because psychologically, women can face a comeback for playing the feminine gender role stereotype, which isn’t cute, one bit.
This may mean relying on appearance to gain acceptance and it works to the advantage of women in male-dominated fields. When one looks smart and nice and works smart and nice, acceptance is just a second away.
Embrace some male characteristics
This may not accord to some personalities and it may also be a copying tactic, but when one embraces the male characteristics and monitor oneself, being self-conscious, opportunities present itself
Having a female mentor, in or outside the industry is a wonderful way to build knowledge and skills. One gets to align personalities and their reputation can help reinforce one’s reputation.
Dwelling in the positive and ignoring the negative
To succeed in spite of adversity says a lot about a person’s character and determination. This is in regard to focus. By dedicating oneself to the job at hand and getting accustomed to the role by focusing on the engaging and challenging nature of the job, one tends to overlook whatever politics is being played and in turn, recognition and success will be birthed.
This would make a huge difference to women’s work satisfaction and effectiveness.
Changing workplace culture
It is very much possible to succeed in industries not typically associated with women such as mining or construction.
Attitude adjustments can make a woman brave enough to fight the status quo. Also, one can influence the hiring policies or implement recruitment platforms that support fellow women in the industry. By this, workplace culture has evolved and shifted.
With this, African women and women, in general, will be able to overpower gender discrimination in male-dominated fields. They can create a place for themselves and generation to come, and make history. Let’s make our voices heard and make a huge difference!
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According to the Harvard Business Review, “diversity unlocks innovation and drives market growth. ” Because of technology allows us to communicate instantly, everyone can access diversity.
The world is becoming a global village, largely because we no longer need to spend hours, weeks, months or more transmitting messages. We can access information and people within seconds, allowing us to build companies, teams, and relationships with those that used to be unreachable. This phenomenon is a game changer for social entrepreneurs and professionals.
If one does not consider the interconnectivity of the world and the need for diverse teams, one will fall behind and miss economic and social opportunities.
For those who recognize this and seek to diversify partners and scale global businesses, it is crucial that we understand our ingrained mindsets surrounding our work habits, our communications skills and our overall view of success that come from the environment we grew up in.
Often, we do not even realize that we are behaving in a way that hinders our success, even when we have the best intentions.
I have done a lot of work promoting mutually beneficial relationships between Africans and Americans. During this time, I saw some of the major challenges that crop up in our intercultural relations stem from different communications habits.
For example, certain cultures rely heavily on writing, whereas others communicate verbally. The frequency of communication can also be affected by the environment, tone, vocabulary or communication methods used.
In certain contexts, different methods of communication are preferred- in an American office, email is the go-to, even when you could walk down the hall and ask a question in person.
However, in the offices I worked at in Senegal, if I needed anything, I took a walk to my colleague’s desk, chatted about family, the weather, the latest wrestling match, and only then asked about my work needs.
In order to succeed in our globalizing world, the most important thing to do is increase your cultural knowledge of your collaborators. Certain aspects are relatively easy to learn- norms surrounding work attire, greetings in the local language, gestures/body language, or religious belief, for example.
Others take more time to truly understand intricacies such as social classes/ethnicities, relationship with authority figures, gender/family roles, work ethic and office behavior.
Before my trip to Ghana last August, I made sure to do some basic research on culture, customs, and linguistics, but also knew I needed to continue to ask questions and joke respectfully with people during my stay to be better prepared to collaborate professionally and personally with Ghanaians.
Increasing cultural knowledge and working on intercultural awareness are actions to take to ensure you are building the most successful, inclusive, financially solid and sustainable programs with the top talent the world can offer.
Furthermore, it is crucial to establish trust in any relationship. A trust model dedicated to intercultural teams is based on ten dimensions; competence, compatibility, goodwill, integrity, predictability, well-being, inclusion, openness with information, accessibility, and reciprocity.
There are many ways to build this trust, paying special attention to which methods to employ given the nature of the team, be it in person, remote or a hybrid.
As I build Baobab Consulting, where most of our relationships are virtual, I mostly use WhatsApp, social media, Google Drive and email to share information and create team culture, but I take every opportunity to meet face to face to establish that physical connection, which in many cultures, plays a crucial role.
Even with cultural awareness and trust, there still may be some lingering stereotypes or assumptions we carry that we are unaware of. Let us not presume that two North Americans or two Africans on a team understand each other.
A woman from Senegal will have a completely different vantage point than a man from Zimbabwe, just as a woman from New York City’s will be different from a male colleague from Montreal. Even if there are some similarities between them that may help them bond faster, it is still necessary to follow the same procedures of intercultural awareness.
At the end of the day, no matter where you fall on the intercultural awareness spectrum, how many languages you speak, or how many cultural events you have been to, you must remember that personality can also play a role.
Sometimes, we work better with certain personality types and struggle with others, so this should not be discounted as you work together and build team dynamics. Take a free version of the Myers Briggs test to learn more about your personality and that of your teammates.
By creating inclusive teams and encouraging them to fearlessly and meaningfully contribute, entrepreneurs will see true disruptive innovation. To do that, we must make sure the right steps are taken to ensure that everyone feels taken care of, considered, understood and respected.
There will always be some level of tension and even conflict when we work together, but if we assume all parties have good intentions, these snafus can be overlooked. Always remember the true mission of what you are doing. Understand everyone’s goals and work together to achieve them.
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The way in which we work and do business has changed enormously over the years, pushing further the entrepreneurial narrative. Today, we have a lot more flexibility and freedom to work remotely, without coming to the office, or operating a home-based business, or making use of convenient locations.
More and more women in Nigeria are entering the business world, and many more are being encouraged to do so. The inspirational stories of women breaking the frontiers from all over Africa and the world at large have motivated more women to venture into the male-dominated business world.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that the BBC in a recent study said Nigeria has the highest number of female entrepreneurs in the world, this clearly shows how entrepreneurial Nigerian women are and how they keep pushing the envelope in different sectors of the economy.
These women are rising up to the challenge and have fully embraced the concept of Coworking. Currently, all over the world, there are over 4000 Coworking spaces and about 20 female-centered spaces. In Nigeria, there are over 100 coworking spaces spread across the country with the majority in Lagos.
WHAT IS COWORKING?
Coworking refers to people working in shared office spaces and has been referred to as the future of work. With more and more women getting actively engaged, they are taking advantage of serviced office spaces as against the traditional rent.
Venia Hub is one, the first coworking space in Nigeria. Venia has since opened its doors to budding female entrepreneurs. It is currently housing many female-owned owned businesses and lots of virtual and creative freelancers.
Venia’s sister company; The iLx Center is a training facility which has seen women come in to be empowered by organizations and individuals. There has been a lot of female facilitators and trainers booking the training center to empower both women and the public in general. Women based organizations like the SLA digital marketers training and lots more have been held at The iLx Center. The Center provides first class services such as uninterrupted power supply, fast internet, and generally optimized environment to fit whatever occasion that may be required of the space and ease of location.
While the benefits of Coworking might seem obvious already, here are some more specific benefits working from a coworking space such as Venia does for you and your business, whether big or small.
5 BENEFITS OF COWORKING
1. It’s Affordable
Co-working spaces are affordable and startup friendly, they offer way cheaper rent rates as against the traditional rent and running cost for offices.
From power, cleaning, security, to other needed facilities and infrastructure needed to run business seamlessly, all these can take a toll on business especially SME’s. Coworking with its service nature caters for all of that by spreading the cost with other co-workers
The running cost is spread across the board so the effect is not felt by one alone. This way you work from a secured space with great ambiance, your mails are handled and your visitors properly entertained.
2. It’s Structured
There’s no doubt the amount of distraction that comes from working from home. The truth remains that there are multiple things that can become distractions, affecting output and productivity.
The coworking environment gives the structure needed to get actual work done. You get a heightened focus and higher discipline to achieve tasks with very minimal distractions.
3. Increased Productivity
There is an energy that emanates from interacting with like minds and coworking offers just that; the opportunity to network with people doing great work, share/ bounce ideas off each other and even skills rent.
Coworking serves as a hub for highly creative people whose skills can be temporarily hired, promoting an exchange of skills and knowledge.
Working from a hub surrounded by other industry players keeps you on your toes. You’ll also find yourself constantly informed about the happenings in your industry. There is a supply of all the information you need to energize and achieve more while ticking things off your list and hitting your business goals.
Collaboration is the new competition, and coworking is synonymous to collaboration.
The concept of working in a shared space and amongst similar minds enables avenue for networking and collaboration for greater impact. Examples of collaboration that changed the world.
Coworking offers flexibility, depending on available funds, a lifestyle that might involve traveling and move from one location to another.
Venia, offer plans that range from daily, weekly, monthly and even weekends to accommodate different work plans. It also provides options of working from different locations on one subscription.
For days when you don’t want to go through traffic, or you seem to have meetings in a different location, Coworking affords you the options for flexibility.
With all of these incredible benefits that coworking offers, it is apparent that women; motherland moguls take advantage of coworking to boost their productivity, business, and brand.
It is encouraging that women continue to set and raise the bar, pursuing their dreams and embracing their full potential, choosing to orchestra their lives and be part of the future, we are here to propel them on.
Leadership is an art. It means taking courage to maneuver a group of people with common intentions, goals, and objectives in an organized manner. Not everyone can be a good leader!
Of course, you have to bear in mind your follower’s individual strengths and weaknesses while walking on eggshells trying not to annoy this group of people – even when they throw their frustrations and aggression at you!
With all these pressures, leaders quite often fall into bad habits as they struggle to achieve their goals. To avoid this, as a Motherland Mogul and leader, you are probably asking, what is a leader not?
There is a wide difference between being a boss and being bossy. A bossy person is a maniac! They operate like a machine put in place to juice their subjects in order to extract what they want for the company.
A great leader is none of these. They are diplomatic and understand that more is given willingly than forcibly. A good leader is compassionate. They do not exclude others from contributing their part towards the common goal.
Yes. We all have that cousin or friend that we think would be the best at this job. But what would your followers think if this was the case? Would they be committed to your family company?
It is very sad that nobody nowadays values meritocracy. Leaders give more attention to those who massage their ego, than those who tell them like it is.
However, true leadership requires building the right team that will challenge you and helps you grow your organization.
A jolly old person
The truth is, great leaders do not try to keep friendships with others by satisfying their needs at the expense of their followers and the common purpose. When you start pleasing everyone, you start compromising.
This then causes your standards to get a tilt and you’re not the same leader anymore. It doesn’t hurt to make friends, but don’t let your friendships compromise your value and your objectives.
Have you ever heard the tale of Narcissus? According to Greek Mythology, he was cursed by a God to look at his reflection in the water and fall in love with it every day. He fell in love so much that it actually ruined him!
As slay queens, we need to love ourselves. But we shouldn’t let our self-love turn into overconfidence, self-adulation, and self-centeredness at the expense of our followers and the common purpose.
A prejudiced discriminator.
In 1949, sociologist Merton illustrated prejudice and discrimination with four categories of people:
The prejudiced discriminator is the worst kind of leader to experience. They are a chooser and not a trainer. This kind of leader doesn’t believe that followers of a particular sect, religion, ethnicity or region can offer the common purpose any productivity due to insufficient justification and undue prejudice.
Great leaders do not just build visions, but they also build people. If one doesn’t avoid these habits of bad leaders, they end up attracting the wrong crowd, or no crowd!
As Motherland Moguls, let us strive to make sure we are not bad leaders. Build your dreams on the right and with the right attitude. Let’s make Africa better with the advent of good leadership and fellowship.
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